What is Technology Transfer?
Technology transfer is the movement of knowledge and discoveries from the research lab to the marketplace to benefit society. Technology transfer allows innovations created during research activities to be further developed into marketable products and services.
The Technology Transfer Process
Research often leads to new discoveries and inventions. An invention is a unique or novel device, process or method, or composition when compared with the current state of the art. Often, multiple researchers are involved in one invention.
2. Innovation Disclosure
Submitting an innovation disclosure is the first formal step in the technology transfer process. The disclosure form is a confidential document designed to gather specific information that will enable the evaluation of the invention's patentability and commercial potential. It is critical that AUC researchers submit their disclosures as early as possible, especially before any public disclosure of the idea or invention.
The assessment phase is a period where the technology licensing officers will evaluate the disclosed innovation to determine its patentability and commercialization potential. This is a crucial phase that needs a lot of input and feedback from the researcher’s side. This evaluation will help us determine the optimal way to move forward.
4. Patent Protection
A provisional patent application may be filed if the invention seems sufficiently developed, has commercial potential and appears to be patentable. Getting a patent granted is a long process that will require regular input and support from the researchers.
Successful marketing requires close collaboration between inventors and the TTO. With the inventor’s involvement, the TTO identifies candidate companies that have the expertise, resources and business networks to bring the technology to market. This may involve partnering with an existing company or forming a startup.
6. License to Business
Our technologies are usually early stage and often require substantial development by the licensing company before a commercial product is ready for market. Most licensees will need to invest substantial time and money in product development. Exclusivity, field of use, subdivision of patent rights and sublicensing provisions are tools available to shape the license. Running royalties, license issue fees and other terms are tailored to match a licensee's needs and the realities of the market.
- Existing Business Licensing: If the invention will best be commercialized by one or more established companies, the TTO will seek potential licensees and work to identify mutual interests and goals to fully commercialize this technology.
- Initiating a Startup: If creating a new business startup has been chosen as the optimal commercialization path, the TTO will work to assist the founders in securing funds and establishing the right team to successfully commercialize the technology.
Protect Your Innovation
In order to protect your invention, you need to first submit the innovation disclosure form. The ideal time to disclose an invention to the TTO is before it has been published or publicly presented. If you feel you need to discuss your idea at any time even before you fill out the innovation form, feel free to give our office a visit.
After successfully submitting your disclosure form, our office will work with you to evaluate your invention's commercial potential, including its novelty and utility. The TTO will also help identify potential applications for the inventions. If your invention is novel and has commercial potential we will proceed with the patenting process.
The patenting process is long and requires regular input and involvement from all inventors. However, once the patent application is filed, inventors can freely publish their work and the TTO can start pursuing potential licensees.
Inventors should familiarize themselves with AUC’s policies and procedures and review the intellectual property policy and research conflict of interest policy.
If you have any questions regarding these policies, call 20.2.2615.3130 or stop by room 1095 at the School of Sciences and Engineering building for more information.
Request a Material Transfer Agreement
When an external party wishes to receive material from or transfer material to, a researcher at The American University in Cairo, a material transfer agreement (MTA) is needed. AUC reviews all incoming and outgoing MTAs to ensure that the interests of the University and its researchers are protected.
If, after reading these sections, you have any further questions about MTAs, email us at email@example.com.
Start a Company
Sometimes an invention is best commercialized via the creation of a spinoff — a technology-based company formed to commercialize inventions made at the University and protected via intellectual property rights that are owned by AUC. Inventors may participate in these spinoff or startup companies in a variety of ways and AUC’s TTO staff are available to discuss all aspects of forming a spinoff company with you.